Tuesday, May 7, 2013

The most successful demise of a wedding is divorce

Throughout the last few months, I have dealt with more parental problems, both personally and professionally, than I care to discuss.  But guess what – I’m going to discuss it anyway.  Some weeks I don’t blog because I don’t have a topic that anyone’s asked about, or there’s nothing that I’m fired up about at the time, or (and the most popular reason) I do not have the time due to a busy wedding season (Thank GOD!!)  At any rate, I am fired up and truly saddened by the parental display that has been my life since I entered this industry, but also adulthood.

If you are blessed enough to have children, be ready to be a parent for your child’s whole life, not just until they reach the legal age of adulthood.  Over the past few years, I have witnessed parents refusing to walk down the aisle if their ex is in the procession (even though their ex is the parent of the bride/groom,) parents refusing to walk down the aisle if a step parent is in the procession (most common issue,) and then there are the parents who just plain do not show up to the wedding due to some lame excuse that should really just be called what it is: selfishness.  Of course, these particular parental issues are only brought to us by our divorced parents, and God knows we have enough of them. 
As little girls, most of us start day dreaming at a very early age about the wedding we will one day have.  We dream about the man that will sweep us off of our feet, about the beautiful flowers and what the wedding will look like, and we also dream about the family that will share this day with us.  In most of our dreams, little girls see our parents together holding hands as we kiss our husband at the altar and in that dream, our parents share their own kiss and some tears of joy as we happily leave the church and enter our new life together.  Does this sound like a scenario you girls are familiar with, or does this sound like an unrealistic idea of what life used to be?

How about the more common “broken home” scenario?  It includes my favorite parental issue.  It’s the one where we spend a year planning that little girl’s wedding, the whole time having the parents fight tooth and nail every time the other parent’s name comes up causing them to list the number of reasons for the divorce and why they feel the ex should have no rights to the wedding (although cashing the checks to help pay for the wedding is never an issue.)  Hearing about that mom had an affair or that dad worked too much was never in the day dream that little girls have and no matter how old we are. We are not here to take sides and to throw loved ones out of our future because you can’t overcome your past.
Overcoming divorce is hard enough at any age, but when we get brought into the “picking sides” game, it becomes almost impossible to get through and as adults, the children are all of a sudden the friends of the parents rather than what we are – the children, no matter how old we are.  I have seen it time and time again at many of the weddings I’ve helped plan where the parents are divorced.  No matter how much time has gone by, the bride’s mother is always chirping in the bride’s ear talking about the women with the bride’s father or the bride’s father talking about the bride’s crazy mother.  Why is it that for one day, for one major event in your child’s life, two grown adults cannot put their issues aside and act as such?

Whether you’re a parent that is divorced, married, single, or dating, as children, all we care about is who you are as a parent - who you were when we were children and who you are now that we are adults.  The rest is just nonsense.  Are you there for us when we need you?  Do you put aside your feelings for everyone else in the room and show up because your feelings for us are more important than anything or anyone else?  Do you support our decisions because you trust that we know what’s best for us?  Can you stop thinking of your failed marriage long enough to give our marriage a chance to succeed and pray that ours has a better outcome than yours? 
There’s more to being a good parent than paying for the wedding, and your drama around our special day affects us more than you’ll ever realize.  This is just something I thought that parents out there would want to know.  And if you truly have fresh wounds that cannot be closed temporarily to get through the wedding, my suggestion is to hire me and call me every day if you’d like to (I love to offer an ear and diffuse any situation), but please don’t talk to your child about it!